Nepal government has announced to provide cash relief, on Monday, to former CPN (Maoist) combatants who were disqualified for both the Nepal Army and the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) for being underage or late recruits.

As many as 4,008 combatants were rejected for recruitment, among which 2,973 were underage, during the UN verification in 2007.

The government will provide Rs. 200,000 per person to the disqualified combatants and the decision will cost more than Rs. 800 million to the taxpayers.

The Council of Ministers is working to prepare a procedure for the distribution of cash and is seeking to amend the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act.

Human rights lawyers and activists speculate that the current government, led by CPN-Maoist Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal, is trying to divert public attention by making announcements like the cash relief and an updated list of martyrs.

Children were widely used as soldiers under the false pretext of joining the Maoist militia for cultural performances during the decade-long Maoist insurgency. After luring them in, the children were brainwashed into using weapons for the Maoist revolution with promises of better education, life and career. Many of those children lost their lives during combat and many were disabled.

Earlier in 2007, around 1,400 of the 19,000 Maoist fighters were recruited while others preferred voluntary retirement. The government provided Rs. 500,000 – Rs. 800,000 each to the combatants who chose to retire, taking away billions of rupees of the state coffers.